To grow or not to grow?

I’ve worked for myself most of the time since 2001. I started as a consultant in the nascent digital marketing space, which meant I sometimes found myself convincing companies that a website was a good idea. I was the communications expert and I would bring in other talent as needed. It’s the accepted model now, but 17 years ago I regularly struggled against the bias that I needed a brick and mortar presence and a full staff to be legit.

Times have changed for solopreneurs, and for the better. Today I find myself not only having been there since the beginning but also being current in my skill set and – most critically – my mindset. My business thrives on referrals and account growth. Right now, I could set up a physical shop and bring at least one person on staff to increase my company’s bandwidth. Based on my current business growth rate and leads pipeline trends, I feel confident I could grow by at least a 5x factor in two years.

Business growth is good, right? Right?

Five years ago, I would have jumped on this. But the last half-decade has been packed full of life changes and personal growth, which have in turn caused me to deeply evaluate my priorities. Now I’m not so sure that becoming as big as possible is right for me. On the other hand, it feels foolish to turn away from opportunity when I’m still at this level.

I’ve been a boss, having co-owned a small media company and two restaurants. I’ve managed creatives and shift workers, freelancers and full-timers. I know the drill, so I know what my next choices imply.

If I grow my business, where will I work?

Crystal Clear’s global HQ is a converted guest room, and I only bring my most laid-back clients here. For one thing, they have to walk through my living room and up the stairs to get to it!

I’ve been considering a co-working space, but I do like the convenience and price of working from home awhile longer. So I’m thinking of baby-stepping it by creating a more professional space within my home where I can see clients.

My house is in a quiet, wooded area that’s convenient to a major road. It’s mostly made of cedar and definitely has a rustic vibe. My front door opens into a farmhouse-style living /dining area that makes the most sense to convert. But it IS my primary living space, so how do I balance a place where my clients feel welcome during the day, and I feel comfortable after hours?

If I’m going to pull the proverbial trigger on business growth, I’ll need to weigh all the factors, down to the art on my walls and whether my current sofa is acceptable – it’s super comfy but not exactly in showroom shape.

I’m going to start by looking for ideas on Pinterest and at National Business Furniture’s website, where I’ve purchased in the past with great results. National Business Furniture also sponsors of some of my blog posts, including this one, but I wouldn’t have accepted the sponsorship unless I loved their stuff. They carry good-looking, affordable items for small companies and offer a lifetime guarantee on all the furniture they sell.

This is all new territory for me, but I can’t be the only one in this position. As a solo operator, how do you look at growth? What are your objectives? How did you originally choose to work this way? Comment below or write me directly. I may feature you in a future post!

NEXT: Balancing act: When your living and working space are the same space.

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